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The CAA responds

Post #743 • March 1, 2006, 4:01 PM • 27 Comments

Franklin Einspruch,

CAA has been made aware of the webpage that you characterize as a parody of our conference blog. Given that the disclaimer is in small type at the bottom of your website and because you use the names of real individuals, to whom you attribute specific postings, some of which our authors may regard as embarrassing, disparaging or defamatory, it may not be clear to readers that your site is, or purports to be, a parody. For these reasons, we ask that you make your disclaimer clearer, place it at the top of the page and use fictive names for the blog entries themselves. CAA itself reserves all rights.

Thank you.

Michael Fahlund
Deputy Director
College Art Association
275 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10001
212-691-1051 x201
212-627-2381 Fax

Mr. Fahlund,

In light of your requests, I'd like to direct your attention to the post from which the parody was linked:

Readers described it as "brilliant" and "...incredibly funny, one of the best things I've seen in some time." That's my answer to "your site is, or purports to be, a parody." There's far more evidence for my page being a parody than for your organization being "committed to the highest professional and ethical standards of scholarship, creativity, connoisseurship, criticism, and teaching." Victims of the job portion of your annual conference have been complaining about it for years, and the most action the CAA has ever taken to improve it was to issue a weakly-worded policy statement in 2000 and, from what I've been told, to appoint a committee that has done nothing that I can discern. One of your posters on the CAA blog reported that people were being asked by interviewers about their age and their childbearing plans, which violates federal law, and you are complicit in that violation. That's leaving aside the unprofessional degradation that interviewees have been enduring since as long as anyone can remember. I've consistently found your publications to be long-winded, obtuse, obfuscatory, and incapable of serious judgment regarding art. You regularly give your art criticism award to people who are not art critics. So much for "highest professional and ethical standards."

With that out of the way, I have nothing against the individual authors and don't think it would injure the parody to use fictitious names. I already offered as much to Ms. Hamburger, via e-mail, although I have not heard back from her. They took part in a silly exercise but there's no reason they should be made to unduly suffer for it. Some of my readers are experts at anagrams and I will set them to work on it.

I'm not sure what you mean by making the disclaimer "clearer" - it already says "...none of [the authors] actually wrote these comments. This blog is a parody by" I can't make that any clearer. I doubt that I am under any obligation to move the position of my disclaimer, no matter what rights you reserve, but I will check with my lawyer out of courtesy to you. In the meantime, it disgusts me that you regard my parody as an actionable problem while the CAA blithely abuses its least priveleged constituents as an perennial practice. I continue to have nothing but contempt for your organization. Parody, even vicious parody, is less than what you deserve.


Franklin Einspruch



J.T. Kirkland

March 1, 2006, 4:21 PM

It almost sounds like you had that response drafted before you received the letter! You know, with blank spots in which you insert the exact quotes he chose to use.

Regardless, I loved it!



March 1, 2006, 4:28 PM

No, that would be cheating. Some of it was lifted from comment #26 under the post linked above though. I just find outrage to be inspiring to my writing, I guess. Thanks!



March 1, 2006, 5:18 PM

Okay! Anagram Team! (OP, Craigfrancis, all other volunteers!) We need new names for Nicholas Mirzoeff, Lara Kohl, Christopher Howard, Susan Hamburger, and Kerr Houston. Best names will sound like names but still be funny. Go!



March 1, 2006, 5:19 PM

Cool down. It's a membership organization. Go elsewhere if you don't like it. Get a life.



March 1, 2006, 5:27 PM doesn't even require membership. You don't like what I have to say, Huh, go elsewhere. Get a life.


that guy

March 1, 2006, 6:24 PM

how bout:


BUSHMAN ARGUERS or the ever so eloquent: HAMBURGERS ANUS




...okay I cheated with this anagram server

great site by the way.



March 1, 2006, 6:48 PM

Give 'em hell, Franklin!

Why anagrams? A little twisting will do. How about

Nickelass Mizerabel

Larry Kohlrabi

Chris Howhard

Susie Whopper

Curt Whozedone



March 1, 2006, 7:58 PM

I expect the CAA and the PFAC people involved in the infamous Alesh incident would understand each other perfectly. They seem to be coming from a pretty similar place, as in:

What, us? Whatever do you mean? There's absolutely no problem here. None. And we're sticking to it.

Truly lame, not to mention pitiful.



March 1, 2006, 8:03 PM

Karla Hol.
Kent O'Sourr.



March 1, 2006, 8:23 PM

I really like that letter! You should add that and the parody to the "Illegal Art" exhibition! And, membership organization? Yeah, it is but, they're jerks too. Sorry, to my colleague and former editor of their Art Journal publication, Janet Kaplan. As much as I enjoy my own person academic studies and research, academia is not a pleasant environment for a career these days... as if it ever has been.



March 1, 2006, 8:58 PM

Okay, thanks for the suggestions. The names are changed.



March 1, 2006, 10:15 PM

I regard myself as a person of average web-literacy, and the "hoax" nature was immediately obvious to me - the URL gave it away. Therefore, I think that any name-changing you do is a courtesy.

"I continue to have nothing but contempt for your organization. Parody, even vicious parody, is less than what you deserve." is a fucking amazing kiss-off. I'm stealing it the first chance I get.



March 1, 2006, 11:24 PM

alesh said:Therefore, I think that any name-changing you do is a courtesy.

Well maybe.... technically it might be considered copyright infringement. There is a legal clause in the copyright law which allows an escape route for parody but this would only be an issue if becomes a litigated dispute. The first course of action by the CAA would be a cease and desist notice. I would suggest treading lightly, you would probably win in court but who wants to go through that?


Marc Country

March 1, 2006, 11:58 PM

Wait a sec... Susan Hamburger is a real person?

Man, it is hard to tell where reality stops and parody begins sometimes.

Personally, I'm no fan of anagrams, so I'll sit this one out.


Marc Country

March 2, 2006, 12:09 AM

I just find outrage to be inspiring to my writing, I guess...

I know exactly what you mean!



March 2, 2006, 8:36 AM

You honor me, Alesh. Steal away.

technically it might be considered copyright infringement.

There's also a bit of a gray area when peoples' real names get used. You can say whatever you want about public figures, but not about non-public figures. I think that if you put your name onto what you hope will be a forum with a national-level readership, you're a public figure, but it wasn't worth pursuing. Like I said above, I have nothing against the individual authors.



March 2, 2006, 1:05 PM

Marc, you write: "it is hard to tell where reality stops and parody begins sometimes."

I don't think CAA officially recognizes the distinction.



March 2, 2006, 1:45 PM

If these CAA people were savvy as opposed to defensive, they would have ignored or blown off the parody. Of course, that's probably too much to ask from such an institution, where there appears to be plenty to be defensive about.



March 2, 2006, 2:32 PM

I agree (with you all) but ...

Franklin is wasting his time for a giggle. Which should really matter most. is getting his butt back in the studio working not fiddling around with some html. Show me another ten pastel drawings.


Marc Country

March 2, 2006, 2:38 PM

... of course, if the point of art is pleasure, then it seems making ten pastel drawings is equally a waste of time.
Maybe we should all go donate blood, or something.



March 2, 2006, 3:00 PM

One doesn't get free cookies and juice just by being principled. One has to give one's best stuff, whatever the venue. Franklin gets a virtual cookie and juice for doing just that.



March 2, 2006, 3:43 PM

re #20: ... of course, if the point of art is pleasure,

I didn't say or even imply that. If writing code, html or otherwise leads to income which allows Franklin to spend more time on his artwork, then I can see the point. I could care less about the CAA. Just a personal viewpoint, but it seems to me that he spends a lot of time diverting his attention away from the point. Whatever, it's his decision and we are all entertained. Frankly, I'm more interested in a response, visual or otherwise to Jordon's question How would you tranfer paint -to - surface while maintaining this luminosity and economy? Seems like a more productive line of inquiry than slamming CAA.



March 2, 2006, 4:22 PM

The point of art is pleasure. Slamming CAA is also pleasure. Pleasure is profound. Why knock it?



March 2, 2006, 5:02 PM

Oldpro (and others) check out Dust to as well as Revenant for those good oldies!


Marc Country

March 3, 2006, 1:37 PM

George comment #22:
re #20: ... of course, if the point of art is pleasure,

I didn't say or even imply that.

Of course you didn't say that George... It was I who wrote "the point of art is pleasure", and since I never attributed those comments to you, how did you get the impression that I did?



March 4, 2006, 5:24 PM

Didn't think too much of those sites oldpro?
I thought they might be of interest to you.



March 4, 2006, 7:28 PM

Thay do look interesting, beware. Thanks. I have not had a chance to check them out thoroughly.



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